Two documentary shorts in the Tribeca Film Festival highlight issues related to publishing. In “Reporting on the Times: The New York Times and the Holocaust,” filmmaker Emily Harrold investigates the lack of coverage of the Holocaust by the Times in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
The current management of The New York Times has acknowledged that the coverage was insufficient, despite the fact that the newspaper was owned by Jews. In interviews with historians, journalists, and a Holocaust survivor, Harrold poses the question whether the U.S. was truly the World War II liberator that it has been portrayed to be.
Filmmaker Vivienne Roumani’s “Out of Print” investigates the changes taking place in the publishing industry due to the digital age. Meryl Streep narrates, and people like Authors Guild president Scott Turow and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos are interviewed.
The documentary includes a discussion about the decline of reading and the problems of piracy and copyright infringement. Turow points out that it’s appalling how we have singled out an industry and told the professionals within it that their work should be given away. Yet, we don’t say the same thing to General Motors, for example. “If you destroy the livelihood of writers, fewer people will write; the culture will be poorer in the long run,” he says in the film.